Last week, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi issued a constitutional decree that sought to place himself above the rule of law until a new constitution is drafted.His decree has been followed by violent protests throughout Egypt, by citizens who fear that Morsi’s Egypt is beginning to closely resemble the dictatorship under Mubarak.
Interestingly, these protests follow a shining moment in Morsi’s five months as President, as he helped establish the ceasefire in Gaza.
Time Magazine interviewed Morsi, covering all of these recent events.
Here are some of the highlights.
On Egyptian-US Relations:
“I don’t like people in my country to say, ‘The US is against us,’ because I know the American people are different from these positions that have been taken for a long time.”
“I want to…have a very strong bridge between us, between the Middle East, Middle Eastern people, and east and west, and certain balance.”
When discussing his time spent in the US (Morsi received a PhD from the University of Southern California in 1982), Morsi says he learned the phrase ‘we are a nation of all nations,’ which to him means “we can all live together.”
“People in the world are realising that freedom is better than dictatorship.”
On the Muslim Brotherhood’s political practices:
The Muslim Brotherhood “by definition” is a “democratic organisation,” which stems from the belief in equality, which is “not only [present] in America.”
“I’m very keen on having true freedom of expression. True freedom of faith. And free practice of religious faith. I am keen and I will always be keen on exchange [transfer] of power.”
On the controversy of last week’s decree:
“What I can see now is that Egyptians are free.” The Egyptians are exercising their right to the freedom of expression and Morsi is “not worried” because the Egyptians are “learning. We are learning how to be free…We’re learning how to debate. How to differ.”
[The writing of the constitution is] “a first experiment….So what do you expect? Things to go very smooth? No. It has to be rough, at least.”
[The democratic institution isn’t pulling apart] because “peacefully expressing opposition is very healthy. It’s very important. But not violently. And violence is related to, as I said, the old regime, some way or other.”
“I know perfectly what it means to have separation between the three powers, executive power, legislative power, and the judiciary.”
Finally, Morsi is up on his American pop culture, as evidenced by his reference of the film Planet of the Apes, saying “The old version, not the new one. There is new one. Which is different. Not so good.”
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.